Just the other day I was craving a dish that I only eat in the cool weather months, this hearty ragout, which I serve over pasta, polenta, or spooned over a simple mushroom risotto. If you like, you can even up the number of shanks and use this as an osso buco recipe (don’t strip the bones of the meat), and reserve all the extra sauce that you’ll have for another purpose.
Penne al Sugo (Pasta in a Red Wine and Veal Ragu)
Use 1 to 2 lbs. dry penne pasta, cooked to al dente, and then sautéed in the sauce for a few moments to finish the dish, passing parmesan Reggiano at the table. Serve this with a crisp salad, some fresh fruit, and a nice bottle of wine and you have an easy and elegant weeknight supper for the late fall.
1/4 c. olive oil
5-7 lbs. of meaty veal shanks, (osso buco)
2 large carrots
3 ribs celery
1 jumbo yellow onion
6 garlic cloves
bouquet garni of fresh rosemary, fresh oregano, fresh thyme, fresh bay, and parsley
12 basil leaves
3 c. light, dry red wine
64 oz. whole San Marzano canned tomatoes in their own juices, crushed through a food mill
2 c. rich chicken stock
1 c. water
4 oz. minced pancetta
Place oil in large casserole dish over high heat and brown the veal pieces. While cooking, dice all vegetables and mince garlic. Remove and reserve the veal when browned. Add vegetables and garlic to the pan, sautéeing until glassy. Add bouquet garni and basil. Cook briefly and add wine. Reduce by half. Add the meat back to the pot, along with tomatoes, stock, and water. Bring to a slow boil and lower heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and simmer 2 hours, until meat is fork tender. Remove meat and bones from sauce and reserve. Remove bouquet garni and discard. Reduce sauce at a simmer, uncovered, until sauce is a nice rich consistency. Shred the meat, being sure to save the marrow from the bones. Discard bones and add meat and marrow to sauce. Season with sea salt and ground pepper and serve or cool/freeze.